NZ sends firefighting help, as smoke drift blankets kiwis
As smoke from the Australian bushfires travels across the Tasman to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced fresh firefighting support will head the other way.
An extra 21 firefighters will head to Queensland to battle the fire front, joining five Kiwi specialists already on the ground.
Ms Ardern said she'd been in close contact with Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the "devastating fires" ravaging Queensland and NSW.
"He is aware and very appreciative of the extra support that New Zealand is sending," she said on Tuesday.
"The 21 is an additional group of firefighters who are moving, who are locating over to help with the rotation of long shifts over a period of time.
"Obviously, there will be fatigue for those firefighters who are on the ground and we're looking to have those New Zealand firefighters help relieve some of that."
Foreign Minister Winston Peters said they would extend further support if requested.
"We will make it very clear to the NSW and Queensland governments that if we can possibly help, we will," he said.
The new contingent includes six three-person crews and three leaders who will begin their efforts on Wednesday.
Satellite images, and Kiwis on social media have displayed the extent of the bushfire smoke, as it drifts eastwards.
Queenstown locals have posted pictures of dust from the Australian mainland settling in their town, more than 2000km from the fire fronts.
Christchurch, red sky in the West, dust all the way from massive bushfires in Australia, 4,000 km (1,200 miles) away. pic.twitter.com/Trz0dauOdz— Jeffrey Holman (@Poppenz) November 9, 2019
Stephen Glassey, meteorologist with the New Zealand Met Service, said he couldn't recall a similar instance of travelling smoke in almost a decade.
"It has happened before, but it is rare," he said.
"Sometimes we get dust storms as well coming over the Tasman."
Glassey said he wasn't aware of any health risks for New Zealanders.
"The main impact is interesting-looking sunrises and sunsets from all the light getting scattered," he said.
The dust & smoke from the #NSWfires is quite prominent on satellite imagery as gets transported across the Tasman Sea onto New Zealand's South Island 💨— NIWA Weather (@NiwaWeather) November 9, 2019
Some of the dust may cross the North Island on Sunday night. pic.twitter.com/4kofiZ0m32
#NSWfires #NSWbushfires #NSWRFS— Inner-City-Latte-Sippin-Dole-Bludgin Union Thug (@YOKYOKbeers) November 9, 2019
The first two pictures are from Oamaru, New Zealand. The third from Dunedin.
Half an hour ago the sky went brown.
This is the smoke from the NSW fires.
My Aunty sent these to me 5 minutes ago. pic.twitter.com/582F2vLyZ8